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I’m With Stupid – January 21, 2011

by Todd Hartley

Having lived in and around Aspen for the past 18 years, I have a bit of an odd confession to make: I’ve never tried cocaine, and I’ve pretty much never had any desire to. I’d see Aspen’s cocaine folk getting up at noon after three hours of sleep, looking like hell, or still hanging out in dive bars at the age of 62, and I’d have to admit that cocaine looked glamorous, but somehow I managed to resist the urge.

Likewise, I’ve never tried heroin, because it’s heroin. I don’t even understand how someone does heroin for the first time. How do you let someone you probably just met in an alley or a motel room, who most likely isn’t a doctor, convince you to inject yourself with a brown substance you don’t know the origin of? I’d sooner inject myself with ketchup.

And all I know about snorting heroin, which apparently goes on, is what I saw in the movie “Pulp Fiction.” As you may recall, Uma Thurman snorts some of John Travolta’s heroin, believing it’s cocaine, and SHE DIES, mostly. Fortunately, he’s able to ram Eric Stoltz’s giant needle of adrenaline directly into her heart to save her.

Given that – and despite the fact that everyone I know has giant needles of adrenaline that could save me just lying around the house – I’ve always* tried to live by the adage, “If you have to snort something up your nose, at least know what it is.” To me that just seems kind of self-evident. To some people, though, who are less choosy about what they snort, that concept is apparently a little tougher to grasp.

Earlier this week, two men were arrested in Silver Springs Shores, Fla., for breaking into a woman’s house and stealing electronic equipment, jewelry and other items, including an urn and a small container. After the robbery, the men mistook the powder in the urn and the container for cocaine … and allegedly snorted the ashes of the woman’s father and her two Great Danes.

This struck me as odd. Not so much because it’s not every day that someone snorts another human being, but more because I thought everyone knew that cocaine is supposed to be white, not charred-bones-and-teeth-colored. And did the thieves really think that someone outside of a bad movie cliché kept their cocaine in an urn on the mantelpiece? Seriously?

Anyway, the men eventually realized their error. This may have happened after the powder failed to get them high, or possibly when a shard of Great Dane femur got lodged in someone’s nostril. The police report didn’t specify how the men knew it wasn’t cocaine, but I think it must’ve involved the femur, because after the men snorted the powder, something made them understand that it was actually ashes.

To their credit, proving that all criminals aren’t heartless thugs, the thieves briefly considered taking the ashes back to the home, but instead they decided to throw them in a lake because they were concerned about their fingerprints. If it wasn’t for that, though, they would have totally done it, because they’re the thoughtful kind of burglars.

The woman, I’m sure, is distraught over having her house broken into and her father so nasally abused, and she has every reason to be upset, but I think the police are going a little too far in their efforts to console her. I think they might be lying to her.

It was reported that “police divers were trying to recover the ashes.” I find this a little hard to believe. They may be trying to recover the urn and the container, but unless those thoughtful criminals taped the urn closed and remembered to burp the Tupperware with the dogs in it before they threw it in the water, the only way the police are getting those ashes back is to strain the entire lake through a cheesecloth**.

The two men were jailed on burglary and other charges and may face prison time, but they really should consider themselves lucky. What if that had been an urn full of heroin instead of human remains that they so recklessly snorted? Those thieves might have pulled an Uma.

Unless one of them was Eric Stoltz, that could have proven fatal.

*Well, not always. I once snorted something my friend told me was peach-flavored snuff. It was, but it made me puke anyway.

**A coffee filter would probably work too.

Todd Hartley is the executive director of Afrin-Anon, a self-help group for people addicted to prescription nasal sprays. To read more or leave a comment, please visit zerobudget.net

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